Clothed with Salvation: Pastoral Power and Eighteenth-Century Anglican Satire
Nelson, Jon Nnicholas
Doctor of Philosophy
Critics who work with eighteenth-Critics who work with eighteenth-century texts have long wrestled with the place of religion in the literary archive. Clothed with Salvation: Pastoral Power and Eighteenth-Century Anglican Satire approaches this topic from two perspectives: first from the recent academic debate over postsecularism, and second through the lens of pastoral power, a transitional concept developed by Michel Foucault in his 1977-1978 lectures at the Collège de France. Eighteenth-century literary studies is an especially promising field for bringing the two together. In the last thirty years, the discipline witnessed an explosion of work arising from the adoption of powerful analytical frameworks, the culturalization of its interests, and the expansion of its traditional archives. Moreover, there is now widespread familiarity with most other aspects of Foucault’s genealogy of modernity. In bringing together the postsecular and the pastoral, I argue that literary articulations of pastoral power became particularly productive in Anglican satire when writers responded to the shift from naïve religion to reflective religion. The dissertation advances a series of arguments about the literary dimensions of pastoral power that accompanied this change. It demonstrates (1) how the post-Civil War seventeenth-century anxiety over the pastorate colored the satirical representation of naïve religious belief; (2) how shepherd-flock and citizen-state games appear in tropes and figures of sovereignty and unrest during the Restoration; (3) how the workings of pastoral power made possible a satirical critique of contesting religious belief; (4) and how the typical techniques and strategies of pastoral technology became decoupled from salvation and repurposed in the satirical novel. Individual chapters explore these themes in the work of Samuel Butler, John Dryden, Jonathan Swift, and Laurence Sterne.
Satire; Charles Taylor; Postsecular; Anglican